The development of the largest new field discovered in the UK North Sea for a decade has been approved by the UK Oil & Gas Authority. The Maersk Oil operated high pressure, high temperature (HPHT) Culzean field in the UK Central North Sea is expected to produce enough gas to meet 5% of total UK demand at peak production in 2020/21. Culzean is also the largest gas field sanctioned since East Brae in 1990.
Discovered in 2008 by Maersk Oil and its co-venturers, the gas condensate field has resources estimated at 250-300m barrels of oil equivalent. Production is expected to start in 2019 and continue for at least 13 years, with plateau production of 60,000-90,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day.
Maersk Oil and its co-venturers, JX Nippon and BP (Britoil) are investing around £3bn ($4.5bn) in the development, with more than 50% committed to investments in the UK. Over the projected life of the field, it’s anticipated that £2.1bnin operating expenditure will be spent in the UK domestic market. The Culzean field aligns with the UK’s commitment to increased gas-fired electricity generation and is expected to support an estimated 6,000 UK jobs and create more than 400 direct jobs.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne said, “Today’s announcement sends a clear signal that the North Sea is open for business. Already the UK’s oil and gas industry supports hundreds of thousands of jobs across the country and this £3bn investment comes on the back of massive government support for the sector.”